After years of Americans expressing frustrations over the convoluted tax code, the IRS’s inefficient customer service and high tax rates, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady said Congress is finally in a place where it can move things forward.
Brady told The Daily Caller News Foundation he’s been in regular contact with the incoming administration, as President-elect Donald Trump has made it clear tax reform is one of the top priorities.
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“The transition team got off to a very fast start,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation, “and I know Speaker [Paul] Ryan and the leadership teams are in constant communication with them as well, so I think the discussions have been really positive so far.”
While a timeline is not yet in place, Republicans are gearing up to make major changes as soon as Trump is sworn into office, aiming to set tax reform in motion within the first 100 days.
“Our president-elect is a man of action, and so we are in discussions with the team, not on timing or process or sequencing — but on the solution for the tax code,” said Brady, a Texas Republican. “The president-elect has talked about doing this early in his administration, so Ways and Means is going to be ready — House Republicans are going to be ready with that solution. ”
Republicans in the lower chamber laid out their own proposal, the “A Better Way” agenda, in early 2015, calling for a drop in both individual and corporate tax rates in addition to a complete overhaul of the Internal Revenue Service.
Brady said the changes would simplify the tax code to the point where most Americans could file their return on a postcard system and aims for the IRS to be completely transformed.
“We proposed to bust up that behemoth of an agency, the Internal Revenue Service, and in its place create three much smaller more focused units all giving immediate, state of the art customer service to taxpayers,” Brady said.
One unit would be dedicated to business tax questions, another to handling inquiries for individual and family returns, and a third at serving as a small claims court separate from the Department of Treasury to handle disputes quickly and affordably.
“Today [taxpayers will] spend thousands of dollars and years and years even with minor disputes — we envision a small claims court independent of Treasury that can more affordably and quickly resolve those differences,” Brady said.
While the House GOP’s blueprint and Trump’s tax proposal are largely similar, they do have their fair share of discrepancies, including differences in the size of the increase of the standard deduction and the way international taxation should be handled. Brady said he thinks they will easily be able to bridge the gaps due to their common goals.
“I think Stephen Moore, one of the creators of the Trump tax plan describes them as 80 percent similar and as Vice President-elect Pence has said, this new administration feels strongly about the Republican plan, so we will work with them to find common ground on the few differences there are and be ready for that in 2017,” he said.
Democrats have blasted both plans, alleging tax cuts will increase the deficit by failing to provide with the country the money it needs for projects like infrastructure. According to Brady, the plan should bring about enough economic growth it shouldn’t pose a problem.
“Our goal is to create a new tax code that isn’t designed to simply to ring money from people, it’s actually designed and built for growth of salaries and jobs in the US economy,” he said, adding he projects a major increase in job and salary growth. “We’ve designed the built for growth tax proposal to break even within the budget including the economic growth that will come with that.”
Brady added that he looks forward to working across the aisle, noting Democratic districts are facing the same economic hardships as Republican ones.